Thursday, August 23, 2012

Two Pony Fans Speak Out

Recently, Second Life Newser ran a commentary by Zyker Finesmith questioning if there was some trouble between furies and ponies. Among those who read it was Skylark Lefavre, the owner of the Castaway Club. She contacted me, and asked to speak to me in detail on the subject. She and her partner Fyphfoko Yifu later met up with me and Jasmine Dawn Shuftan, and we talked for a while.

Bixyl Shuftan, "To begin with Sky, how long have you been on Second Life?"

Skylark Lefavre, "Since 2007."

Bixyl Shuftan, "So you have a wide range of experiences on the Grid?"

Skylark Lefavre, "Yes. I have been human, furry, vampire, full animal, avian, tiny. You name it I done it." Sky went on to say these days she occasionally wears three avatars in addition to her furry form, "I am currently … a dragon, a furry, a tiny, and a pony. I belong to Raglan Shire and Isle of Wyrms."

Fyphfoko Yifu, "It's an individual thing. I consider myself furry, pony, and consider ponies anthro characters."

Bixyl Shuftan, "Has griefing been an especially hard problem between any group, or has it always been limited to individuals?"

Skylark Lefavre, "All groups experience it. It's only bad if you dunno how to handle, or prevent it, which the tinies and dragons have done. They have about stopped it. Furries and other fandoms are equal in griefing and drama, including humans."

Fyphfoko Yifu, "Same here, and I frequent pony forums and the like, being a lifelong pony fan."

Bixyl Shuftan, "What has your experience with the Ponies been?"

Skylark Lefavre, "No more drama and griefing than furries or other fandoms. … every member is human … no one fandom causes more than others. It's like the political mud slinging commercials. … Things arent' as bad as those hating and fighting make it out to be."

The takedown of the first Pony sim, Bronyville, came up (articles here and here). Of the drama that happened there, "It's a fandom, it's gonna happen," Skylark remarked, "It's new, it's young. It hasn't learned how to deal with it yet. When they learn not to let it happen, and not cause it to happen, then they will rank with (the) tines and dragons (at) Raglan Shire and the Isle of Wyrms. But at the moment, most Bronies are Teen Grid crossovers (from) when it merged with ours. This caused another stereotype: if you have a pony av, you are underage. It's not true."

Fyphfoko Yifu, "Most pony fans are in their 20s and 30s."

Jasmine Dawn Shuftan , "Do any of you remember (Overbrain Unplugged), one of the sim admins, a Brony and one of the primary griefers there?"

Skylark Lefavre, "Not him. I remember the sim, though. I was there, I saw it all happen. I never spoke to Curly and those admin devils again."

Fyphfoko Yifu, "We were friendly with Curly, though."

Skylark Lefavre, "We were. Then factions arose from that little sim event. To be honest, Curly Fride is soon to turn 18. But he was more mature than the admins. Not very much, but still more. I saw his report from him, and the other factions."

Jasmine brought up an incident when everyone in Bronyvile was made weightless, "and slung to the far corner of the sim." Skylark replied, "Yes, I know. And I know how to reverse gravity." "Who did you think did that?" "It's an estate tool, and it's a griefer scripted weapon. Someone at (name withheld) showed me how anyone can make a griever tool, and change the creator/owner to you."

"The Bronvyville incident started with a supposed hacking of Curly's account, and the theft of his soon to be released 600 $L pony."

Fyphfoko Yifu, "Basically, if its computer related, it can be fiddled, usually relatively easily."

Skylark Lefavre, "Someone hacked into ti to make it so Curly was no longer a sim admin, then stole his pony, released it to the public. The admins were upset with Curly, they wanted to cut him out. The griefer group you spoke of caused the entire mess. They were responsible. They gave Bronys a bad reputation. And this was their plan all along."

Fyphfoko Yifu, "… 'My Little Pony' is more popular then Elvis right now, so of course its going to be a big griefing target."

Skylark Lefavre, "There is a collation on the 'net to do away with all things Brony. I dunno the specifics, but there is a group of Brony haters on the 'net and on SL causing the drama. They pose as ponies, but they are not. They get in so deep, the mess they cause never goes away. The fall of Bronyville was a planned event. They infiltrate new fandoms and take them down from the inside by destroying their integrity and reputation."

Fyphfoko Yifu, "If you're a terrorist, are you going to attack a tiny obscure village, or something like a major train station?"

Skylark Lefavre, "They tried to take down as many as they could. Bixyl, when that event happened, Brony population actually decreased for a while, at least for a few months."

Fyphfoko Yifu, "Exactly, and that's why popular things like Pony and Twilight are so often targeted."

Skylark Lefavre, "Popular or (not), anything different is a target. … It's not the furries and the bronies who are at war its the griefers who make them think they are. They cause the drama. They cause the trolling. They cause the griefing. Neither side is at war unless they believe the griefers."

Fyphfoko Yifu, "Ponies and furries are no more at war then fans of (Classic) Star Trek and fans of 'The Next Generation.' "

Skylark Lefavre, "Ever hear of the Hatfield's and the McCoys? They fought and killed each other. They fought so long they forgot why. The fought because their parents told them lies, mangled truths. Hate needs justification. To justify you need to lie and lie well."

A friend nearby, Kryxia Silverfall, had been listening, and wondered, "With this griefing going around among the fandoms namely bronies and furies, if one allows the issue to see light in a way it is giving the griefers acceptance in that they are acknowledged and tend to crave that."

Skylark Lefavre, "That's true, but they make those they pretend to be look that way too, like attention whores."

Kryxia Silverfall, "Yes, there are tools out there that may cause what is now known as griefing tools. But then again, it could be and probably is was someone was probably trying to push the limits of say the sims, which the griefers seem to have been able to get their hands on (the tool) and turn it to be a weapon as well. To propagate their form of fun by causing said misery to two groups of people."

Skylark Lefavre, "Quantum Labs was a victim of this. Their tools were ripped off and used as griefer weapons. Now people think users of Quantum Labs huds are griefers."

Kryxia Silverfall, "Basically the griefers thrive on causing misery, for it might make them feel better about themselves by doing what they do. It is all human nature of what is behind the monitor and what they want to do."

Skylark Lefavre, "To put it bluntly, in every fandom there are bad apples to give the group a bad name. It never goes away. Its how you handle it and prevent it that matters."

Fyphfoko Yifu, "You can't control what others like. The founder of the Jehovah's Witnesses supposedly liked 'Care Bears.' "

Skylark Lefavre, "Seems people hated dragons, so they constantly griefed the Isle of Wyrms sandbox, which was public. Now its only usable if you are in group and their griefing is near 0% now. Tinies exists, but they don't push others to be tines, and they have a strict police system to prevent people from joining if they even seem griefer like."

Fyphfoko Yifu, "Dragons do get a bad press because of how they are portrayed in movies."

Skylark Lefavre, "Ponies and furries need a better faster and quieter way to prevent and handle things like grieving. Then I know the so-called war between furries and bronies will die. But as it stands, the griever groups not only exist in Second Life, but they exist in other (places), Facebook, the Internet, or real-life. All anyone can do is handle the ones here. Take the griefers out of the equation, there will be peace again."

Fyphfoko Yifu, "Personally, that video I linked too pretty much represents all I know about this apparent 'war.' "

Skylark Lefavre, "I know more than you think (Fyphfoko). I went around asking questions, gathering evidence, at the fall of Bronyville. We were in that group less than a year and drama hit big."

Fyphfoko Yifu, "I lost two small parcels, which pissed me off. Although I do like the new Ponyland."

Jasmine Dawn Shuftan, "I'm saying one thing then I am walking away from this. The day we live in a world untouched by hate is the day this world will be reborn."

Bixyl Shuftan, "Xymbers linked a Krypton Radio article from the JLU, was it accurate?"

Skylark Lefavre, "What article?

Bixyl Shuftan, " "

Skylark took a few moments to read, then, "Bix, this article is correct. It could not be better put, and I agree. The Bronies are not a griefing group. They were started by a griefer, but (he) was thankfully removed. There are no more grievers in the Bronies. But sadly the griefer group was involved with the removal of that Bronyville sim."

Fyphfoko Yifu, "I'm pretty sure there are griefers, but they don't run things anymore."

Skylark Lefavre, "And the copybot device he leaked is null and uneffective as new SL server code has made nearly all copybot devices unusable and to my knowledge the place to get them is neither advertised or sold. Nearly all, but not all."

There was a little discussion of technical details of copybot and other tools, then, Skylark continued, "It's sad a new fandom's rep was tarnished by the group, but thanks to the preserverance and hard work of people and Lindens its gonna get harder and harder for griefers to get the upper hand. Drama will always exist, harassment, hate groups, but they can't do what they used to be able to do. Bronies will emerge out of the pit they have fallen in, and become accepted as much as any other fandom, if not more."

"And Bix, you need to add, you do not have to be one thing. You can be a brony, a furry, a human, or even a tiny. In this world, you can be a lot of things at the same time. It's not a 'this or nothing' game, not like it's made out to be. I am human, I am dragon, I am tiny, I am furry, I am mythological, I am four legged, I am many things. I chose to be all, not just one."

"And also, I don't take sides. I don't let people choose who I can see or be friends with. No one should. I'm gonna be all and whatever I want to be."

Bixyl Shuftan, "Do you feel the ponies have been treated fairly in SL media as a whole?"

Skylark Lefavre, " I feel Ponies have been the uncle no one wants to be near, except by a group of some. (I'm) not saying they are hated by everyone, just saying they are not the most favorite. And so, they aren't as accepted as the sum of SL sims. But they are becoming accepted more and more as furries are on human sims. It's gonna take time to be treated fairly. You have to remember they had a past thats was laid in controversy."

Fyphfoko Yifu, "You can be treated unfairly no matter who you are, though."

Skylark Lefavre, "What fandom though did not have skeletons in their closet? As long as we keep the griefers and trolls out, Bronies will get treated fairly."

The talk then turned to a group that Skylark felt had an excellent reputation, "Tinies are so random they make me laugh a lot. You should hear the chatter on Raglan Shire group chat (grin). They are soooo silly. Tinies are widely accepted because they *are* happy, they *are* silly, they *are* productive, and give to SL as a whole."

Bixyl Shuftan, "And lots of jokes about waffles?"

Skylark Lefavre, "Oh yes (smile). Them and their waffles (grin). With the Isle of Wyrms, though, it's cookies."

Fyphfoko Yifu, "With ponies it's muffins."

Skylark Lefavre, "In my inventory, I have a lot of waffle and cookie builds from IoW and Raglan (grin). My Seawolf Ancient dragon has a cookie the size of a human, but round."

"Bix, I saw griefers and trouble come, and go for good at Ranglan and IoW. It will happen for ponies and furies. It's gonna take time. (smile) I have faith."

Bixyl Shuftan, "Any comments on this article on the tines: ?"

Skylark Lefavre, "Oh Em Eff Gee! (laughter) Bix! That article!! That *IS* them! (big grin) Something strange happens when I put on a tiny av. I become like them. Others have told me this too. It's infectious."

"You have to give ponies and tines credit, for a new fandom they rigorously enforce rules to keep their avatars from becoming walking porn, like with bits. They keep them fully PG. And ponies like clothes as much as tines. Even hatches have clothes."

Bixyl Shuftan, "Yes, I've heard those rules are strictly enforced at the Brony sims."

Skylark Lefavre, "It's a good rule, Bix. It proves they are worth giving a chance to. They are pure hearted, not perverts and griefers. The better sides of people come out in PG form, the cuter and more adorable side, the beloved and funny side." Sky paused, then chuckled when she read the latest in Raglan chat, "Hee hee, another Tiny raid on a sim. Those are a laugh (grin). … Store owners can ask a group of tines to come to their store. By doing so, this increases traffic to the place. I was in a few back when … A lot of my friends were tines before they were full-time furies."

Skylark, Fyphfoko, Jasmine, and I continued to talk for a while, but this was the end of the topic. Skylark would later make some tweaks to her pony avatar, and although usually goes about in her furry form, on occasion trots about in her pink pony.

*Addition* Later on, Skylark contacted me saying when they talked about the weightless incident at the Bronyvile sim, she meant to say "admin tool" rather than "estate tool." "And I should have added I do not know how to make the tool. ... I saw someone make the script, but I do not know how to make it myself."

Bixyl Shuftan

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